IBM Watson Artificial Intelligence Consumer Behaviour

The Weather Company, Unilever and GSK first brands to tap into contextual Watson Ads


By John McCarthy, Opinion Editor

June 3, 2016 | 3 min read

A trio of brands have partnered with IBM to make use of its Watson Ads product which uses the AI to provide contextual responses to audio or text prompts from consumers on ads.


The new digital advertising format will let mobile and desktop web browsers directly interact with brands’ ads. Watson will utilise its deep learning, language analysing capabilities and a diverse field of data to provide relevant responses to the questions asked.

One of the companies inputting relevant data into the programme is the Weather Company, all in a bid to create a new realm of cognitive advertising.

The company gives an example of its Watson Ads in action: “One might ask by voice interaction, ‘What can I make for dinner tonight?’ Based on its machine learning and reasoning ability from the data it has ingested, Watson can sort through ingredient and flavor profiles to make recommendations based on the weather, time of day, location and even ingredients users have on hand – all surfaced via dynamic ads.”

The Weather Company of course provides the weather profile into the format’s database, with the roll-out marking the first use of Watson for advertising purposes.

“The dawn of cognitive advertising is truly a watershed moment. Now as part of IBM, we have even more tools and technologies at our disposal to inspire innovations within advertising, artificial intelligence and storytelling,” said Domenic Venuto, general manager, consumer products at the Weather Company.

“This is a huge opportunity to expose consumers to all of the surprising and delightful experiences that Watson has in store for them - and to make advertising a truly valuable interaction for both our fans and our marketing partners, which is always our goal.”

On its use of the Watson Ads, Marci Raible, director of global media and marketing services at Campbell Soup Company, said: “We are excited that consumers will be able to engage directly with Chef Watson for meal ideas, it will take into account a person’s local weather, time of day and location as well as ingredients they have on hand to offer tried and tested recipes from Campbell’s Kitchen. Using the data to offer quick and easy meal solutions in real time is exactly the experience we are looking to drive with consumers.”

On how Watson can benefit GSK Consumer Healthcare, company chief marketing officer, Theresa Agnew, said: “Cognition humanises the use of data as we move from intent-based advertising to actual one-to-one interacting. It also gives consumers easy access to information to make better decisions about their healthcare in real time.

“We have produced a number of successful campaigns with Weather and value their steadfast commitment to creating a quality advertising and consumer engagement experience for their fans.”

The ads will debut on The Weather Company properties.

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